I have never liked new years eve. It has always seemed to me to be too full of expectations, to find the best party, to start a new year with resolutions and a clean slate, when really it is just another day on the calendar, an entirely false construction. Never more true than this year when, most of us in lockdown tonight will still be in lockdown tomorrow, and it could be weeks before we see friends and family again. Since being widowed there a has been a weird dissonance in this as my philosophy of it being just another day contrasts with the feeling of leaving Chris behind, forever stuck in 2018. I’ve written about that before, but there is a sadness at new year as the ticking of the calendar from 20 to 21 reminds me that I have to keep moving forward without him.
For me, 2020 wasn’t the worst year ever, because nothing can compare to the worry and pain and heartbreak of 2018 (and I don’t mean the world cup!). There were lessons I learned in 2018 that have served me well in 2020 – recognising that I’m not in control of anything and that I need to take one day at a time; appreciating the amazing and wonderful family and friends that I have; knowing that love and positivity isn't always enough; understanding that sometimes all you can do is open the wine and the chocolates and hope tomorrow will be better!
2020 has been a mixed bag. My new business was doomed early on mostly due to Covid but I have managed to find enough work to keep my head above water. I have lost my dad (not to covid) and seen the stress and pressure of the pandemic taking its toll on loved ones, especally those working in frontline professions such as the NHS and education. I moved house in the middle of a global pandemic and I’m now living out my dream to live by the coast. This has had its challenges as we’ve had power lines blown down in strong winds, I have had to learn how to use an oil fired heating system, and have given up on battling to keep the house sand-free! That has all been outweighed by the sky, the light, the beach walks and the sunsets. This is not the life I would have had with Chris, but as a Plan B, I'm ok with it, I'm learning to be happy with what I have while grieving what I have lost.
I’m often asked, and often wonder, what would Chris have made of 2020
I'm often asked, and often wonder what would Chris have made of 2020, and I don’t know the answer. He would have loved all the zoom quizzes! I know he would be sad, possibly angry, at 11pm tonight as the UK leaves the EU. I think that he would have been as frustrated as me over the pandemic and the handling of it. He would have been devastated to see the effects on the music, arts and events industry. He would have supported the BLM protestors for standing up to say it’s not ok to treat black people as though their lives don’t matter (and I suspect, he would have given anyone who would listen a full history of the life and times of Edward Colston and the campaign in Bristol against that statue). He would have found the conspiracy theorists and covid-deniers baffling. He would be glad to know that Trump didn’t get a second term. I think he would have been proud of our daughters as they navigated GCSEs and University in these strange times. I think though that he would have agreed with me that there are worse things in life than being asked to stay at home and wear a mask when you go out. I am sure that lockdown would have been so much more fun had he been here to share it with. Throughout 2020 that has been my overwhelming feeling – that all of it would have been so much more bearable with him here.
One of the things that I am most proud of in 2020 (apart from managing to sell a house, buy a house and move halfway across the country!) is this blog. I was never brave enough before to show my writing to anyone else, so publishing the first one on the 2nd anniversary of his death was a huge step for me. I have been overwhelmed by the positive responses to my posts and so I plan to continue writing in 2021 – I hope you will continue to read, and maybe even share! I have also become a volunteer for WAY – widowed and young, and so I hope to be able to support other people widowed before their 51st birthday. I hope that by summer I can welcome friends and family to my home, and I am looking forward to being able to socialise in 3D again. I am also hoping that all the gigs and shows I had tickets for that were cancelled last year will be able to go ahead.
I have no resolutions as we go into a new year, other than to continue to take life one day at a time, and to focus my energy on the things I can influence and control.
Wishing you all a peaceful 2021 and a happy new day.